Sunday, January 9, 2011

Wenlock and Mandeville: A whole lotta WTF.

At first, when confronted with the sight of the 2012 London Olympic mascots, I had only one thought. "Oh my good sweet bippy," I said (mostly because Emily's office has an obscenity filter), "they're giving Izzy a RUN for his MONEY." Here, have a picture:


People, if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times. This is what happens when you allow marketing firms to make your mascot decisions for you. 

From the Wikipedia article about them:

The Mascots are the world's first customisable mascots. They were formed from the last two drops of steel poured in a Bolton Steelworks to form the final girder of the 2012 stadium. Their magical skins are highly polished steel allowing them to change to relect the personality and appearances of the people they meet.
So what I'm hearing is that London 2012 is employing SHAPESHIFTERS with tax payer money. Sure, it's all well and good when they're shapeshifting into the Union Jack, but what happens when one of them steals your identity and your family away from you? I don't know if there's an applicable X-Files episode about this, but dang it there should be.

Let's return to the Wikipedia description for a moment:
They have cameras for eyes, taxi headlights, and Wenlock has friendship bracelets in the colour of Olympic rings whereas Mandeville has a pink stopwatch which symbolises that you can always do better, On the watch reads 0:20:12.
...Cameras for eyes? Seriously? I thought one of the greatest controversies in London in the past decade has been the use of CCTV cameras. This is a main topic for Banksy, one of the world's most recognized street artists. And they're HIGHLIGHTING it with the design of their mascots?

"Sure, come to the 2012 Olympic Games!" Wenlock and Mandeville seem to be saying. "We'll be watching you!"

And the rings as friendship bracelets.... just seem a little familiar to someone like me, who has, I admit, spent an unreasonable amount of time contemplating the meaning of Izzy's tail.

His eyes! His eyes are made of stars!

And I haven't even begun to talk about their origin story. Here's a link to a youtube video, but just in case you don't want to spend four minutes watching it, I'll give you the quick and dirty:


Voice over: "A great rainbow arcs over Barton and down onto a great steelworks where they're finishing the last girder for the Olympic Stadium."

It's the last day at the plant for George, who signs his name on the final girder and then takes two steel blobs and puts them in his pockets. He goes home, where his grandchildren and awkwardly buxom wife are waiting for him with cake.

That night, he turns the steel blobs into dolls or something. And then he gives them to his children like the lamest toys ever. The children run upstairs with their new toys, place them in the window, and then a RAINBOW comes and gives the blobs life. They frolic, posing like Usain Bolt and chirping oddly the whole time.

Voice Over guy returns: "Then suddenly, the RAINBOW is back. Wenlock and Mandeville know it's time to go, their journey is just beginning. So many adventures to have. So many people to tell. But they will meet again. In London. In 2012. You'll be there. They'll be there. The whole WORLD will be there."

So... the gist of this seems to be that London just released this menace on the world. That last line seems really threatening to me. "The whole WORLD will be there, Wenlock and Mandeville will SEE TO THAT." Thanks, London. Thanks a lot.

From Wikipedia again:
In other quarters their design has been greeted with some disdain. One columnist theorized that the pair were the product of a "drunken one-night stand between a Teletubby and a Dalek".[8] Others have compared the mascots to Izzy, the mascot of the 1996 Summer Olympics, another critically panned mascot.[9] However it has been reported that children of the target audience (5 to 15 years) find the duo enjoyable.[10]

Terrifying? Or enjoyable? You decide.


St John MacGregor said...

they really are terrible. I actually googled 'wenlock and mandeville wtf' because they made me so angry

Ian said...

As someone from England I am embarrased by these damn things and livid that some commitee somewhere has allowed this dross to happen while someone somewhere got paid for it. It beggars belief that the people who make these decisions are allowed to feed themselves let alone make decisions that will reflect on our image around the world.
Last two drops of steel...magical skins...cameras for eyes, what, I MEAN WHAT!! Whats wrong with some sort of animal or something or nothing or a cheese sandwich anything.